This mango chipotle quinoa bowl is filled with all the fresh flavors! It's simple to put together, with filling quinoa, sweet mango, hearty beans and tangy lime chicken all drizzled with a fantastic smoky chipotle dressing. This bowl of sunshine is smoky, it's tangy and it's mega delicious.
Why you’ll love this recipe
This recipe is for you who love zesty and smoky flavors! This mango chipotle quinoa bowl is filled with different textures, making it an interesting and satisfying bowl.
It is healthy, full of wholesome ingredients that make a balanced meal. However, it is so far from boring you can get. Healthy food doesn't have to be boring. It is also filling from the quinoa, beans and chicken, which makes it ideal if you want to avoid snacking.
A bunch of wholesome ingredients make this dish:
- Quinoa: A delicious, filling whole grain that can replace rice and other starches. It's high in fiber and protein, some antioxidants and a good source of iron.
- Spinach: A good source of iron, magnesium, vitamins and minerals. Spinach is my favorite dark leafy green, but you could also use this garlic kale or any other green you like.
- Black beans: They have a satisfying texture and a mild flavor. Nutritionwise they are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein and carbohydrates (but doesn't spike your blood sugar levels).
- Mango: Perfect punch of sweetness! And if you're a mango lover, I recommend this Mexican mango salad, mango prosciutto salad and these Vietnamese summer rolls.
- Avocado: some creamy goodness and healthy fats.
- Cilantro: Cilantro is perfect for Southwestern, Texmex and Mexican food! If you don't like cilantro, feel free to omit it.
- Pepitas: Roasting the pepitas in smoked paprika adds a nice crunch to the dish. That little extra step of roasting them is 100% worth it, the texture gets crisper and flavor more prominent.
- Lime: Bring on all the lime! The zesty freshness works so good with the smoky and sweet flavors.
- Chicken: to get that extra protein and make the dish more filling. The lime on the chicken adds a nice freshness to it.
- Apple cider vinegar: to balance out the sweetness and spiciness from the chipotles. It's such an amazing vinegar!
- Chipotles in adobo sauce: chipotles are smoked and dried jalapeños. In adobo sauce they are rehydrated and canned in a puree of tomatoes, vinegar, garlic and spices. Look for it in the Mexican aisle. It keeps for weeks, covered, in the fridge. You can use the leftovers in Mexican fried rice or chipotle cheddar burger.
- Spices: Smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. To get that Mexican inspired, smoky flavor! Salt enhances the flavors more.
Preheat the oven to 325℉ (160℃). Prepare the quinoa: wash the quinoa in warm water to remove excess starch before cooking. Boil water and add in the quinoa, reduce to simmer and simmer for 15 minutes or however long stated on the package. It is done when all the water has absorbed.
Take it off the heat and let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Then fluff it with a fork and pour it onto a shallow plate or bowl and place in the refrigerator. It should be cold or at least lukewarm before combining the other ingredients.
While the quinoa is cooking, begin with the chicken. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces, and heat a skillet with a little olive oil to medium high heat.
Once hot, add in the chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Cook for about 7 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Drizzle over the juice of one lime. Set aside.
Toss the pumpkin seeds (or preferably pepitas) in olive oil, salt and smoked paprika. Toast them in the oven for around 15 minutes, you want them to be slightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
For the chipotle dressing: Add all the ingredients apart from the olive oil into a blender. With the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Process until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. The chopped mango, spinach, black beans, cilantro, avocado, onion, roasted pumpkin seeds and the lime chicken and cooled quinoa. Drizzle with the chipotle dressing.
I'm generally not a fan of storing salads with onions in them as the onion tends to take over everything. However, you can store the onion separately and then combine when ready to eat!
Avocado also tends to brown quickly, so that shouldn't be cut long before serving either. But other than that, you can store this, covered, in the refrigerator, for 3 days.
The good thing about this is that you don't have to re-heat anything when you want to eat it!
Why roast pumpkin seeds?
You can eat pumpkin seeds raw, but they will not adhere to the spices. If you want a toasty, smokey flavor, I highly recommend toasting them. Roasted pumpkin seeds are also more crispy and get a nutty aroma. It's hardly any more hands-on time and they can roast while you prepare the quinoa and chicken.
What's the difference between pumpkin seeds and pepitas?
Ok, so I say pumpkin seeds, but I mean pepitas. Pepitas are the olive green kernels of the pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are the large, cream-colored shell. Both are edible, but I often just buy a bag of pepitas. In this homemade pumpkin puree recipe I also have a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds where I use the shell (aka not just the kernel).
Can you make it vegan?
Yes! You can omit the lime chicken and it is vegan. To make it more filling, increase the amount of beans by at least double. Drizzle a little lime juice all over the dish if you want that freshness.
What is chipotle?
Chipotle is a smoked and dried jalapeño chili pepper with a delicious smoky flavor. They are often served in a can of adobo sauce, which is also the case for this recipe. The chipotles are rehydrated in the adobo sauce and then canned. The adobo sauce is based on tomato puree, vinegar, garlic and spices.
The can I usually buy is La Costeña Chipotles, and I find it in the Mexican aisle at grocery stores.
You don't have to follow the recipe to a T!
- Use whatever grain you have, whether you want quinoa, couscous, bulgur or even rice - it's up to you.
- You can also switch up the fruit, but I recommend a sweet one like pineapple or peaches.
- Other proteins like pork, tofu, more beans or fish can also work for this recipe.
- + Add all your favorite veggies!
- When it comes to the sauce, I really love this smoky chipotle sauce. However, other sauces can also be delicious, like this avocado sauce, tzatziki or spicy tomato aïoli.
Did you like this recipe? Here are more healthy salads I think you would like:
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This recipe was originally published on January 2nd 2018, but updated on April 25th 2022 for better photos and content.
PS. For your amusement, here's the shot I took back in 2017. It was one of my first recipes on the blog.
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